"Miss X' - a kitty in need of a helping hand

(January 2014)

Executive Summary

Miss X, a young tortoise shell, had been stuck in a pine tree for at least 4 days. She allowed me to rescue her after taking me on an exploratory jaunt of the ENTIRE LENGTH of her 40 ft. pine tree. She was last seen snuggling in the lap of Mrs. B, who got the wheels turning for the rescue. Total rescue time: 1 hr, 40 min. Injuries: (mine, Miss X was fine) --- pulled back muscle (WTH!, not again!) and a sprained right pinky.


"Brinnnggg!!! Brrrrrrrrriiiinnnnngggg" -- the Kat Fone was ringing! Time to ....uh, ok. I have a confession, one that I had to make to a nephew over the holidays. There is really not a "Kat Fone" (awwwwwwww, you say!). It is just my cell phone. Using the term "Kat Fone" is a Literary Device intended to spice up the narrative. Because, well, it needs spicing up!

However, if I did have a dedicated Kat Fone, then it would probably look something like the picture to the right, except perhaps less pink. And, it would go "Meowww, MEEEOOOWWW" when it rang.

Ok, where was I?

Oh, yeah -- the Kat Fone was ringing! Excitedly, I answered it. A Miss Hill, who runs Lucky Dog Rescue in Meridian, was on the phone. Animal Control of Meridian had been contacted about a kitty stuck in a tree, and they called her with my name as a possible source of help (I am not sure why Animal Control did not call me directly, perhaps they were too shy to call the krazy kat-rescue guy). Wait -- I am sure you are wondering how did Animal Control of Meridian get my name? If you are not, then too bad, I am going to tell you. After the holidays, I decided that my Facebook stalking of cats-stuck-in-trees was a dismal failure. Facebook likes to connect FRIENDS, not a random stranger stalking owners of cats-stuck-in-trees. So, I decided to embark on a direct mail info campaign, and ordered up some business cards from VistaPrint, which is very cheap and convenient (the only problem with Vistaprint is that you have to click through a bazillion menus to get to checkout, where they want to sell you lots of neat extras, including moon dust brought back by Neil Armstrong). Anyway, once my snazzy business cards arrived, I sent them out to animal control/humane societies/E911 services in surrounding cities/counties. And this was the first customer from that brilliant marketing campaign!

When I arrived the next day, Mr. B and his son-in-law (Mr. G), were waiting for me in the driveway. They led me a short distance into the pine forest at the back of the house to a tree where Mrs. B was waiting. The kitty was a young tortoise shell, currently perched about 20 ft. up on a relatively young 40 ft. pine tree. It had a small diameter trunk, no limbs for about 15 feet, then lots-o-limbs all of the rest of the way up. The limbs were too small for me to feel safe about installing a climbing line from the ground, so it was going to have be a spike-climbing approach. The kitty was a stray, so I have decided to call her Miss X for this narrative because she is definitely a mystery. What chased her up the tree? How did she find her way there? What is her favorite cat food? Anyway, Miss X was crying piteously for somebody to come and get her. I was told that the previous day, a rescue attempt had been made by cutting down the tree that she was originally in, but Miss X had hopped over to her current tree when that one fell. I boldly pronounced to all present that this was going to be an easy rescue, 15 minutes tops! I was thinking that I was going to repeat the Bobtailrescue, where I would just strap on spikes, climb up, grab the kitty, and be done. It turned out that was a stupid thing to say.

So, I strapped on my spikes, and started up. I had not gone more than 5 ft up when I heard all sorts of scrambling noises, and it was Miss X heading further up the tree. Sigh. I kept going and reached the start of the branches. At this point, things got slow, as the branches were dense, and working my lanyards up through them so that I was always connected to the tree took time. Every time I got close to Miss X, she went further up the tree. Miss X finally ran out of tree real estate, and perched herself on the very tippy-top crown of the stem. When I got there, with both of us swaying in the breeze, the stem was too small for me to get close enough to grab her. I dropped a line down to Mr. G, who attached my catch pole, which I dragged back up. I then attempted to snag the midsection of Miss X with the wire hoop at the end of the catch pole. I was spectacularly unsuccessful at this, because of all the branches in the way, but the wire hoop dropping down on her head convinced Miss X to come a little way down the tree towards me. I talked sweetly to her, and she eventually decided that I was not a Kat Devouring Monster after all and that perhaps it would be ok for me to scratch her ears. She came within arms reach, and after an ear scratch or two, I grabbed her by the scruff and deposited her in the Kat Bag. I then lowered her to the ground to Mr. G, and she was taken to the house by Mrs. B. I then had to work my way back down because I had stupidly not taken my rope up in the tree with me, so I had to climb down instead of just rappelling down (Note to Self: Don't do that again!). Total time was about 1 hour, 40 minutes. So much for my "15 minute rescue" proclamation! I greatly appreciated the help by Mr. B and Mr. G at the base of the tree. I also appreciate Miss Hill from Lucky Dog Rescue for calling me about the situation.

I took a couple of pictures of Miss X as she was snuggling in Mrs. B's lap. I think that Miss X is definitely now in good hands!!!!